Letter from the President

 

Jane Bardavidelcome to AFTA. We are a 38-year old organization of passionate, committed clinicians, researchers, authors, academicians, policy makers, leaders of agencies and programs, and systemic thinkers, all dedicated to fostering families and communities.

AFTA’s vision – a just world. Accomplished by transforming social contexts that promote health, safety, and well-being of all families and communities through developing, researching, teaching, and disseminating progressive, just family therapy, and family centered practices and policies. Please join us in sharing our vision and fostering our goals.

We are filled with people for whom AFTA is their professional home, and as such, take issues and events seriously and systemically. Recent events within the AFTA community, including conversations on our listserv, can only make AFTA stronger. We welcome these conversations as they are part of the fabric of AFTA’s history and future.

We are constantly adding to our new website, so we invite you to explore all of our new wonderful resources. We have put together an incredible site, that showcases our members and provides resources for members and the public, including the new Find-A-Therapist feature. We are planning webinars, video conferences, and trainings to be provided through the website, and I am excited as each new development becomes available. Our website will become the face of AFTA. Be sure to access our Springer Brief Series, free as a member benefit.

AFTA has recently released a position paper on the Black Lives Matter movement, and I encourage you to read it. Our other recent position papers, on Immigration and the DSM-V, are also on the website. We are continuing to write both position papers and White Papers to address national issues that impact families and communities. Current events in our country – gun violence, immigrant backlash, blatant racism, discrimination against the LGBTQ communities, growing inequality – are all being played out in the national election and should not be ignored by any of us. We will continue to address these issues in the context of our practice and our commitment to social justice. We have members who are working on international projects as well, promoting good systems thinking around the world.

We are developing a Strategic Plan that is focused on ensuring AFTA’s growth, relevance, and financial stability. This is a long-term project and not an easy one. We look forward to a strong membership and recruitment drive; diversifying fundraising efforts; and improving AFTA’s visibility and advocacy. We need everyone engaged and committed. That may mean making a donation to our diversity or scholarship funds (which can be made directly on the website), recommending and recruiting new members, writing and disseminating articles, and by joining a committee. Committees are the backbone of AFTA’s work, and the way we meet and work with colleagues, and stay connected and engaged with one another. Committees meet year round. There is a list of committees on the website. I encourage you to join.

The theme for our next annual meeting is Innovation: Family Therapy Today and TomorrowIn addition to stimulating plenaries, workshops, and panels, it will be an opportunity for the entire membership to reflect on our strategic plan. It is scheduled for May 29-June 3, 2017 in Philadelphia. More details will be announced in the coming months. Mark it on your calendars.

I look forward to this year of hard work promoting AFTA, ensuring its health and stability, and keeping vibrant the professional home it is for so many of us. Please join me in the work as we move AFTA towards its future.

Jane C. Baradavid, LCSW
President